The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes is February 11th.
In honor of the upcoming feast, I’m revisiting my Lourdes Series.
In this post I’ll focus on an important Catholic phrase and its connection to my blog and Lourdes.
To Jesus through Mary: Blog
You may or may not have noticed my blog’s tag line AD JESUM PER MARIAM.
For those who aren’t aware, the phrase is Latin for To Jesus through Mary.
The origin of “To Jesus through Mary” is generally attributed to [Saint] Louis Grignion de Montfort in his True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. That is to say that he used the expression most explicitly, and presented devotion to Mary as the most effective means of consecration to Jesus. Therefore, according to Grignion, we ought to entrust ourselves to Mary in imitation of Christ. According to Montfort, true devotion “consists in giving oneself entirely to the Blessed Virgin, in order to belong entirely to Jesus Christ through her” (International Marian Research Institute).
I became aware of the phrase a few years ago while preparing to consecrate myself to Jesus through Mary.
As I continue to grow in my spiritual life, my devotion to Mary continues to grow.
As my blog has developed, my posts have become more Marian.
Since my blog is a reflection of my spiritual life, it makes perfect sense that many of my posts focus on Our Lady.
The tag line sums up my spirituality and my blog.
To Jesus through Mary: Lourdes
The phrase can be seen and felt at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Here are two examples.
Statue of the Crowned Virgin
When one enters the sanctuary and approaches Rosary Square, one sees the Statue of the Crowned Virgin.
This beautiful statue would catch anyone’s attention.
Mary appears as Our Lady of Lourdes: dressed in white, a light blue sash around her waist, hands folded in prayer, and a Rosary hanging from her arm.
She also wears a large gold crown, as the statue’s title indicates.
As beautiful as the statue is, the appearance isn’t what makes it so special.
The statue is unique because of its physical position and location.
While statues normally face the entrance of a shrine and greet pilgrims as they enter, it’s different in Lourdes.
The Statue of the Crowned Virgin faces the main basilica, rather than the entrance of the sanctuary.
My friend said it makes perfect sense for Our Lady to face the church, rather than the gates.
Later, while preparing this post, I reflected on my friend’s statement…
Mary is the Mother of the Church. She was given this role by Jesus before He gave His life on the Cross. She was present when the Church began and is essential to its foundation.
Mary is the perfect disciple of Christ, the Head of the Church. She’s in complete union with God and her entire being points to Him.
Mary is honored by the Church. She’s given special devotion through liturgical feasts, prayers, hymns, titles, dogmas, and doctrines.
Mary is an intercessor for the Church. She continues to pray for and assist the Church on earth while she reigns in heaven.
How could the statue face any other direction?
By facing the basilica, Our Lady directs pilgrims to Jesus and His Church.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary is directly across from the Statue of the Crowned Virgin.
When one enters this basilica one sees a large mosaic in the rear, directly above the altar.
In this image Our Lady of Lourdes appears youthful, majestic and fierce.
Surrounding her are the words PAR MARIE A JESUS.
This is French for To Jesus through Mary.
The phrase appears in an obvious way in the basilica because it’s literally written on the wall!
Our Lady’s arms are slightly elevated at her sides, her hands point downward and her palms are open. This posture is known as the “Position of the Distribution of Graces.”
Mary’s posture shows her desire to give her children blessings.
This image and phrase appear above the tabernacle, which holds the Eucharist.
Mary points to the source of grace and the true presence of God on earth.
Devotion to Mary is often misunderstood.
Mary should never be worshipped. God alone is worshipped, while Mary and the saints are honored.
Mary never seeks attention for herself. Whenever she is praised, she uses it to glorify the Lord.
Mary never desires anything for herself. Whenever she is given anything, she gives it to the Lord.
Mary never serves herself. She serves her spiritual children by loving, guiding, comforting, and interceding for them. She faithfully serves the Lord and brings her children to Him.
Even though I was raised Catholic, I didn’t have a devotion to Our Lady until a few years ago.
I’m grateful that I heard Our Lady’s call and have a relationship with her now.
I thank God for giving me His Mother so I may grow closer to Him through her.
I pray that all who don’t have a devotion to Our Lady will soon begin one.
I pray that all who misunderstand Mary will be permitted to see the truth so they may better know her Son.
“We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.” ~ St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort